Saturday, October 9, 2010

Reds Errors, Chase Utley Give Phillies 2-0 Lead in NLDS; Rick Ankiel Gets Braves Even with Giants

Players of the Day for Friday, October 8, 2010

National League

Cincinnati seemed to have everything going their way as they tried to even the NLDS with the Phillies after dropping Game 1 on Thursday. Cruising into the bottom of the 5th inning with a 4-0 lead, Brandon Arroyo had kept the Phillies in check and seemed to be in control.

And then the errors began. Brandon Phillips couldn't handle a Shane Victorino grounder. Same for Scott Rolen on Placido Polanco's ground ball to third. All of a sudden, the bases were loaded for Chase Utley, who delivered a single that plated two runs.

It got worse. In the sixth, Arroyo walked Jayson Werth and was relieved by Arthur Rhodes, who plunked Carlos Ruiz. Then Logan Ondrusek hit Ben Francisco on the bill of his batter's helmet, loading the bases, setting up a walk to Victorino that made the score 4-3. No hits, two walks, two hit batsmen and a run.

In the 7th, it all came apart. Utley Walked. Werth reached on a fielder's choice, Ytley advancing to second. Jimmy Rollins laced a drive to right center that Jay Bruce lost in the lights. Utley scored. Phillips bobbled the relay throw and Werth scored. Rollins advanced to third on Raul Ibanez's single and scored on a fielder's choice to short by Carlos Ruiz. The lead was gone. The Phillies led 6-4.

Philadelphia added another run in the 8th, Ryan Madsen and Brad Lidge mopped up from the mound and the Phillies took a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series with a 7-4 win in which only two of the Philly runs were earned as the Reds committed four errors.

The Phillies had no extra base hits, but Utley finished 2-for-4 with two runs, two RBI and a stolen base.

The series heads to Cincinnati on Sunday at 7:07 pm, where the Phillies hope to finish the proceedings, while the Reds search for a win.

Rick Ankiel blasted a homer into McCovey's Cove, capping an improbable Atlanta comeback that evened the series with San Francisco at a game apiece.

The Braves rallied from a 4-0 Giants' lead with a run in the 6th and three more in the 8th to send the game to extra innings, setting the stage for Ankiel's 11th-inning solo shot.

Ankiel, playing center field, went 2-for-5 on the night, his one big hit providing the margin of victory in the 5-4 Atlanta win. The former pitcher, turned slugger, joined the Braves on August 1, coming over from Kansas City to provide more offense, and on Friday night, the move proved out.

Game three of the NLDS best-of-five will be played in Atlanta, Sunday, at 4:37 pm ET.

There were no games in the American League, where the Yankees and Rangers hold 2-0 leads over the Twins and rays, respectively. Games 3 will be played on Saturday, with the Rays hosted by the Rangers at 5:07 pm ET and the Twins visiting Yankee stadium at 8:37 pm ET.

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